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Furniture Company Avoids CBP Penalties for Imports with Counterfeit Safety Labels

Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reports that a Missouri-based furniture import company has been sentenced in federal court for importing thousands of lamps bearing counterfeit or unauthorized UL safety certification labels. The company will have to forfeit 5,585 lamps seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, valued at $1.8 million, and serve a five-year term of probation. CBP will not impose penalties but will apply the full amount of the $43,786 in cost bonds previously posted by the company to defray the government's expenses in storing the lamps. A cost bond is a financial obligation importers agree to pay in advance to defray possible court or legal costs associated with importing goods.

For lamps meeting UL safety requirements, manufacturers are authorized to affix labels bearing the words “Portable Luminaire” and featuring the UL mark. The use of this label with the UL mark is the manufacturer's representation and advertisement to the public that the lamp as a whole was certified by UL as meeting its safety requirements. However, ICE notes, before the lamps at issue were seized the importer did not inspect lamps coming from China to ascertain the authenticity of the UL certification marks placed on them.

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